Watch 10 of the craziest mosh pits we've ever seen

A giant mosh pit during Malevolence
(Image credit: @lvcifered (Instagram))

Every metalhead loves a good circle pit every so often – but what happens when that love gets pushed to its furthest extremes? When you’ve got arenas or field-sized festivals crammed with a legion of amped-up headbangers, anything can happen. These insane moshes prove that. Whether it’s because of their size, their ruthlessness, or just the antics of a few loons in the middle, these are 10 of the wildest pits that have ever been caught on camera.

Metal Hammer line break

DevilDriver (Download Festival, 2007)

When Dez Fafara’s groove metal force levelled Download, they tried to ignite a pit enormous enough for the Guinness Book Of World Records. Ultimately, they did an awe-inspiring job of it, getting tens of thousands of fans to circle in a packed tent, but their efforts were shot down, “as there is no way you can physically define where any circle/mosh pit starts and ends”. Boo!

Exodus (Wacken Open Air, 2008)

With Exodus often getting called the first ever thrash band and Bonded By Blood being a genre masterpiece, it’s no surprise that the Bay Area brutes are mosh machines. Their Live At Wacken 2008 DVD is full of batshit pits, but our favourite is the one opened up midway through Strike Of The Beast. We don’t want to know how many bones that riff broke.

Slayer (Greece, 2013)

Disclaimer: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. During a Greek show in 2013, one particularly avid Slayer fan apparently thought it’d be a good idea to bring a flare into the pit and light it. It’s not. However, there’s no denying that the results are stunning – not to mention an apt visual to accompany the hellish sound of Raining Blood.

Gojira (Resurrection Festival, 2014)

Flying Whales is a bona fide moshpit-starter, and it inspired one hell of a wall of death at the 2014 edition of Spain’s Resurrection Festival. However, even better are Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier’s instructions to his bizarrely dressed crowd. “Hey! The banana! Step back!” is a pearl we especially love, almost outdone by the Frenchman barking, “Get that French flag outta here!”

Knuckle Puck (Warped Tour, 2016)

If you’re seeking the world’s craziest moshpits, emo B-listers Knuckle Puck probably aren’t the first band you’d see. However, when the Chicagoans were on the 2016 Warped Tour, they played on a stage that was directly in front of a swimming pool. Cue hundreds of hyped-up fans leaping into the water, singing along and lobbing beach balls about during their set. We want in.

Slayer… again (California, 2018)

Slayer fans continued to prove that they’re a wilder species than the rest of us at this 2018 California show. During Hell Awaits, police and fire fighters stepped into the crowd, reportedly in response to a fire. The pit’s response? Just mosh around them until they move. While this was certainly… something, no one should ever endorse harassing emergency services doing their job.

Lamb Of God (VOA Heavy Rock Festival, 2019)

Lamb Of God supported Slayer at Lisbon’s VOA Heavy Rock Festival in 2019 but stole the show. In the run-up to Redneck, Randy Blythe’s wrecking crew turned the entire floor of the 12,500-capacity Altice Arena into a vortex, with two smaller pits beside the sound desk. Bonus points to these whirlpools of humanity for deafeningly screaming the song’s first lyric as well.

Autopsy (Maryland Deathfest, 2022)

Few people would ever consider California’s death/doom pioneers as a soundtrack to sexytime. In fact, only two of them would – and fortunately for them, they were both in attendance for Autopsy’s set at the 2022 Maryland Deathfest. The results are way too NSFW for us to embed here, but video footage can still be found on Twitter, if that’s your thing (do NOT say we didn't warn you, though!)

Malevolence (London, 2023)

Malevolence were only the opening band when they played London supporting Trivium earlier this year, yet they were still able to incite a moshpit so massive that it went viral. Dudes span their mates about on their backs, others were doing push-ups, all while cameras captured the entire thing. One Instagram user even declared it “the biggest circle pit I have ever seen for an opening band”.

Archspire (Essen, 2023)

We’ve seen flares in the pit, bananas in the pit and oral in the pit – now, board games in the pit. For reasons unknown, Archspire split their crowd at a 2023 Essen show and made two of them, mid-set, play competitive Twister for a t-shirt. Then they got the rest of the audience to smash into them in a wall of death. Cruel? Possibly. Hilarious? Definitely.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.